Lindy’s 2016 Fantasy Tiers: Position by Position Staff

August 30, 2016 at 1:10 pm.

Antonio Brown (84) is the top player on our Fantasy Football board. Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown (84) is the top player on our Fantasy Football board. Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

TIERS by position

Sorting comparable players into tiers can lead to successful value-based drafting. Here’s how we group them for 2016.



Cam Newton CAR

Aaron Rodgers GB

Andrew Luck IND


Ben Roethlisberger PIT

Russell Wilson SEA

Drew Brees NO

Carson Palmer ARI

Eli Manning NYG


Blake Bortles JAC

Derek Carr OAK

Tony Romo DAL

Andy Dalton CIN

Tom Brady NE


Philip Rivers SD

Kirk Cousins WAS

Marcus Mariota TEN

Jameis Winston TB

Brock Osweiler HOU


Tyrod Taylor BUF

Matt Ryan ATL

Jay Cutler CHI

Ryan Tannehill MIA

Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ

Robert Griffin III CLE

Matthew Stafford DET

ANALYSIS: Newton should be a first-round consideration in most leagues, and Rodgers and Luck, both coming off down seasons, aren’t far behind … Given the outstanding depth at this position in 2016, you might be able to wait until the fourth or fifth round to grab one of the dynamic players in Tier 2 … Romo and Brady would be ranked higher than Tier 3 if not for an injury and suspension. Bortles, Carr and Dalton need to continue their development as players but all three have major upside … Tier 4 is where you’ll find quality backups and spot starters. Among them, Cousins could easily jump a tier in 2016.



Le’Veon Bell PIT

David Johnson ARI

Ezekiel Elliott DAL

Todd Gurley LA

Adrian Peterson MIN


Doug Martin TB

Lamar Miller HOU

Jamaal Charles KC

Mark Ingram NO

Matt Forte NYJ


C.J. Anderson DEN

Devonta Freeman ATL

Jonathan Stewart CAR

Carlos Hyde SF


LeSean McCoy BUF

Eddie Lacy GB

Ryan Mathews PHI

DeMarco Murray TEN

Latavius Murray OAK

Jeremy Hill CIN

Jeremy Langford CHI

Jay Ajayi MIA

Thomas Rawls SEA


Matt Jones WAS

Giovani Bernard CIN

Dion Lewis NE

Chris Ivory JAC

Karlos Williams BUF

Frank Gore IND

Danny Woodhead SD


LeGarrette Blount NE

Ameer Abdullah DET

Melvin Gordon SD

Derrick Henry TEN

Isaiah Crowell CLE

Charles Sims TB

Justin Forsett BAL


Duke Johnson CLE

C.J. Prosise SEA

Theo Reddick DET

Paul Perkins NYG

T.J. Yeldon JAC

Tevin Coleman ATL

James Starks GB

Bilal Powell NYJ

Darren Sproles PHI

Ronnie Hillman DEN

Javorius Allen BAL

Devontae Booker DEN

Rashad Jennings NYG

ANALYSIS: The five backs in Tier 1 are all top-of-the-first-round fantasy talents, though some drafters will be reluctant to take a rookie, Elliott, that high. Any of the five could finish 2016 with more than 1,700 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns … Three of the five players in Tier 2 (Martin, Miller, Ingram) have yet to record strong seasons in back-to-back years. Charles is coming back from  a torn ACL and Forte is moving to a new team. That means there’s a significant gap between Tiers 1 and 2 … If you miss on your RB1 in the first couple of rounds, you’ll want to take one of the small handful of players in Tier 3. The players farther down are too risky … Lacy and Hill, coming off disappointing seasons, are the most intriguing players in Tier 4. Lacy was a monster back in 2014 (1,586 total yards, 13 touchdowns); he could easily jump a tier (or two) with improved focus and conditioning … Farther down in Tiers 5 and 6 you’ll find some quality prospects looking to break out (Jones, Abdullah, Gordon) mixed in with pass-catching specialists and fading veterans. Any of the backs in Tier 5 would be terrific as a flex or RB3 in competitive fantasy leagues … Tier 7 is stacked with late-round wild cards.



Antonio Brown PIT

Odell Beckham Jr. NYG

Julio Jones ATL

DeAndre Hopkins HOU

Dez Bryant DAL


Allen Robinson JAC

A.J. Green CIN

Brandon Marshall NYJ

Jordy Nelson GB

Alshon Jeffery CHI


Sammy Watkins BUF

Mike Evans TB

Amari Cooper OAK

Brandin Cooks NO

Keenan Allen SD

T.Y. Hilton IND

Julian Edelman NE

Demaryius Thomas DEN

Eric Decker NYJ

Doug Baldwin SEA

Kelvin Benjamin CAR

Jeremy Maclin KC


Golden Tate DET

Jarvis Landry MIA

Donte Moncrief IND

Randall Cobb GB

DeSean Jackson WAS

Larry Fitzgerald ARI

Michael Floyd ARI

Emmanuel Sanders DEN

Michael Crabtree OAK

DeVante Parker MIA

John Brown ARI

Jordan Matthews PHI

Marvin Jones DET

Allen Hurns JAC


Corey Coleman CLE

Tyler Lockett SEA

Kevin White CHI

Steve Smith BAL

Willie Snead NO

Stefon Diggs MIN

Travis Benjamin SD

Vincent Jackson TB


Mohamed Sanu ATL

Sterling Shepard NYG

Laquon Treadwell MIN

Michael Thomas NO

Torrey Smith SF

Ted Ginn Jr. CAR

ANALYSIS: Brown might be the most bankable player in fantasy football, and no one would protest if he’s taken with the first overall selection. The other receivers in the top tier also should be long gone by the end of the first round in any reputable fantasy league … The five players in Tier 2 may be borderline first-rounders, but they’re definitely desirable commodities in the second round. Going WR-WR at the top of the draft is a viable strategy these days; barring injury, it would be hard to go wrong with any of the players in the top two tiers … Things get dicey in Tier 3. Watkins could miss a game or two because of foot surgery; Evans managed just three touchdowns last season; Edelman has been injury-prone; Baldwin may be just a flash in the pan; and Thomas and Decker could be saddled with marginal quarterbacks. Allen is the most likely of this group to vault into a higher tier … Tier 4 is where you’ll go for your WR3 and flex players in conventional formats. Landry, who had 110 receptions last year, has loads of plausible upside, as do Parker and Jones … The final two tiers feature some roster-filling veterans, plus four rookies (Coleman, Shepard, Treadwell, Thomas) whose roles will be fleshed out during the preseason.



Rob Gronkowski NE


Greg Olsen CAR

Jordan Reed WAS


Tyler Eifert CIN

Travis Kelce KC

Zach Ertz PHI

Coby Fleener NO

Delanie Walker TEN

Ladarius Green PIT


Julius Thomas JAC

Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB

Martellus Bennett NE

Antonio Gates SD


Jared Cook GB

Gary Barnidge CLE

Jimmy Graham SEA

Eric Ebron DET

Dwayne Allen IND

Jason Witten DAL


Jordan Cameron MIA

Zach Miller CHI

Austin Hooper ATL

Ben Watson BAL

Kyle Rudolph MIN

Jermaine Gresham ARI

ANALYSIS: Gronkowski piled up 72 receptions, 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 games last season; he’s in a tier of his own. While fantasy baseball analysts dismiss the idea of position scarcity, the football experts aren’t so sure. Gronkowski is a player to consider at the end of the first round or early in the second … Olsen and Reed, the only players in the second tier, are high-volume receivers in good situations, but taking either one before the fourth round is probably a reach … If you miss out on the top three, you should be satisfied with any of the six players in Tier 3 … Tier 4 rounds out the group of potential TE1 candidates. Seferian-Jenkins, who has been injury-prone, and Bennett, moving to a new team, could easily jump a tier by season’s end.